Tuesday, 18 June, 2024
07December 1939

Soviets capture Finnish village of Suomussalmi

The Winter War continued on this day, with Soviet forces advancing further into Finnish territory and capturing a village, all the while facing fierce resistance from the Finnish defenses forces.

The Soviet army captured Suomussalmi, a village just inside the border Finland shares with the USSR. Finnish forces left a relatively small detachment of troops to defend the village, and they fell back through the village, destroying anywhere that the Soviets could shelter from the cold. The Finnish troops then withdrew to the opposite shore of lakes Niskanselkä and Haukiperä.

The Soviet forces found invading Finland a far greater challenge than expected. Finnish troops were better trained, better equipped, and knew the terrain and area better. The Soviet forces were also making critical errors, such a using weak codes for their radio messages, or sometimes sending uncoded messages.

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